What’s Different This Time?

Echoing a sentiment felt across the Web, Tom Lindmark of Seeking Alpha offers a dire forecast:

“Having seen a few generations come and go and listened to all of the prognostications about how different and sociallay aware they were, how different and how much better their approach to business will be, I can assure you that when it comes to human behavior there really isn’t that much new under the sun.”

Susie Madrak of the Crooks and Liars blog writes “I don’t know how much of a difference it will make, but I hope it does“. One blog commenter promises to “stop sharpening the guillotines,” but warns to “don’t ever forget…[we’re] watching you.” Others offer encouragement. A Dakota State University commentator suggests that even Adam Smith himself might like the pledge.

Can an unprecedented opportunity arise from an unprecedented crisis?

HBS itself was born as a delicate experiment in the midst of the 1907 banking crisis. Lindmark may be right that there isn’t that much new under the sun, but in that context this movement expresses a desire to both renew a profession as well as reconnect with core values. As HBS’ first dean Edwin Gay put it, the school’s goal is to “train people to make a decent profit – decently.”

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